Top Five fisheries in July

Published 10:05 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July is when the real heat hits Southeast Texas and if June was any indicator July is going to be brutal.
The heat does not prevent fish from biting and in fact there are some excellent local fisheries offering great opportunities this month. We pride ourselves on giving you information on how to and where to fish on a seasonal basis and in this case, we have some exciting and big options to take about.
• Sharks on the Rocks: Jetty fishing can be tremendous for sharks this month. Anglers who don’t mind grinding it out in the heat and spend the time getting the right bait can score on big blacktips, spinners and bull sharks.
The “right” bait in my opinion is cut ladyfish, the bigger the better. Jack crevalle and stingray are also great baits. Mullet will of course work but tends to attract numerous other species like gafftop.
Put out a few rods rigged with heavy duty line and focus on tidal movements. Incoming will be better and the Gulf side of the rocks is best. Both Texas and Louisiana jetties provide good shark fishing.
• Schooling Reds: During the heat of the day, Sabine Lake often “slicks off” or gets so calm the only ripples are from boat wakes. This is the (miserable) time of day when schools of redfish can be found terrorizing the huge rafts of shad.
Look for any large wakes in the water to find these reds and make sure and wear polarized shades to help you see the fish under the water. Gold spoons are great lures because they allow you to throw large distances without spooking the fish. If you can approach close any soft plastic will do as these reds tend not to be choosy.
In my experience the area between the Yacht Basin at Pleasure Island and Willow Bayou north to Coffee Ground Cove is the best option with the top action usually leaning toward the Texas side of the lake.
Night Crappie: Toledo Bend just became the first lake to be named the #1 Bass Lake in the Nation by Bassmaster. The bass fishing there is great but the crappie action is just as good if you are able to locate sunken brush.
The best crappie action this time of year is over brush at night. Bring floating fishing lights to put over the brush and watch the baitfish congregate around it. Then lower a live shiner and be ready to feel the “thump” of a big black or white crappie.
With water levels better than the last few years do not ignore some of the larger, deeper docks on the lake. Some of them hold surprising numbers of frying-sized crappie.
• Channel Trout: Once again night comes into play. The Sabine-Niches Waterway from Port Arthur to the old Sabine Pilot Station is loaded with trout this time of year and the best action is around lights at night.
Many anglers bring their own lights and target everything from sunken barges to docks that are covered with baitfish. Live shrimp is the best bait but shad works great as well. If you use artificial consider going old school and using a glow (luminescent)-colored shrimp or curl-tailed grub. The trout hit those like crazy in the 90s and although they are not so popular now, work just as good.
A word of caution-do not fish alone. Over the years there have been numerous incidents with criminals wanting to take advantage of anglers launching at remote ramps and even on the water. If you feel uneasy about a situation, leave.
• Flathead Fever: Flathead (opelousa) catfish are nocturnal predators that get little play from local anglers. They are delicious to eat and grow to impressive sizes and they are present in all local rivers and bayous.
These big catfish are pretty much live bait only so use live perch for best results. I plan on pursuing them this month at a spot I occasionally fish on Adams Bayou. I’d love to hear of any reports of you catching flatheads so send in photos to share.
You don’t have to give out your hot spot but it would be nice to share photos to inspire other anglers to pursue these rarely caught Southeast Texas giants.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at

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